Philhealth to OFWs: Premium payment voluntary during COVID-19 pandemic but rate increase still applies
Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is giving consideration to the plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by making payment of contribution voluntary during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
However, the agency reminded migrant workers that provisions of Republic Act 11223 or the Universal Health Care (UCH) Law including the increase of premium rates still apply.
In an Advisory on Payment Deadlines for OFWs posted June 11, Philhealth President and Chief Executive Officer BGen. Ricardo Morales said that “in order to ease financial burden being suffered by all Filipinos during this Corona Virus 19 pandemic,” the agency is implementing the following rules:
•On the rate increase: OFWs may pay at the previous rate of P2,400.00 as initial payment
•On the schedule of payments: OFWs are granted one (1) year or twelve (12) months from the date of their initial payment to complete their balance for the year.
Philhealth is also giving leeway to repatriated Migrant Workers or Overseas Filipinos in distress to classified as Indirect Contributors, who will not be required to pay premium contributions but instead be subsidized by the national government.
They should secure an OWWA Certification to be presented to the local social welfare officers as a requirement for them to be considered as Indirect Contributors, Morales said.
Morales also reiterated that the increase in premium rates starting this year is still in effect as mandated by the law.
“All are advised, however, that the provisions of R. A. 11223 still apply, although temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, pending amendment of the Law, if any, by the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines,” he explained.
In the new contribution schedule of PhilHealth which was released in November 2019, OFWs are now categorized as ‘Direct Contributors’ in accordance to the UHC Law and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
In 2020, PhilHealth will increase the rate to 3% and henceforth adjusted to increments of 0.5% every year until it reaches the 5% limit in 2025 as provided for by law. Income floor is fixed at P10,000 during the 5-year period, while salary ceiling will gradually increase by P10,000 each year from P60,000 until it reaches P100,000 in 2025.
Before the UHC Law was implemented, OFWs only pay a fixed rate of P2,400 every year.
Further inquiries on this latest advisory, you may contact PhilHealth Call Center at (02) 8441-7442 or through any of the PhilHealth Regional Offices and Local Health Insurance Offices.